Iowa House approves sports betting (copy)

The Iowa Gaming and Racing Commission expects to smooth the way for legal sports betting to begin at the state’s casinos by the time football season starts. Nebraska has not legalized casino gambling.

Legal gambling isn’t the answer

The gambling proponents are again promising good things from the government if we allow legalized gambling in Nebraska.

Many blame the poor performance of government on the excuse that they don’t have enough money to properly fund their projects. So give them more money, the argument goes, and their performance will improve.

I believe that the government takes in all the money it needs but is misspent or lost through poor management, theft and dealing with businesses that lie to bloat their profits. The government can’t properly manage the money it currently has, so why should we expect it to do any better with a windfall from gamblers?

Whenever someone proposes making gambling legal, I imagine thousands of government employees and dishonest contractors licking their chops at the thought of more opportunities to milk the system.

The government and businesses will always be plagued with lazy opportunists, so let’s do what’s right and crack down on them instead of rewarding them with an influx of gambling cash.

Don Wells Jr., Omaha

Appreciate life naturally

In the debate on whether or not pot should be legalized, many are saying things like “alcohol is poison” and say it’s better to get high on pot than to be alcoholic. But some claim that pot can kill motivation, sometimes permanently.

There’s got to be another way to find meaning and pleasure in life than just getting drunk or stoned. I do believe it’s OK to keep alcohol legal for moderate use, but legalizing other drugs to be “fair” to other substance abuse trends is unnecessary. Very likely it would compound alcohol and drug abuse problems that are already seen in our society, without bringing any lasting benefit to anyone.

I have read that wherever pot is legalized for recreational use, traffic fatalities go up in that area. If this is true, then legalizing it cannot be the way to go.

Look for another way to appreciate life. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I don’t think we really have a choice.

Thomas D. Pease, Lincoln

Betsy Ross flag

I cannot believe all the controversy regarding the Betsy Ross flag. That flag was most likely the flag that Francis Scott Key wrote about. His song — flag included — became our national anthem.

Betsy Ross herself did not believe in slavery — it is an abomination, and the Ku Klux Klan is a horrible, horrible stain on our history.

But let’s not use the flag — which is an important part of early American history — something good — and turn it into something bad.

Diana Semper, Omaha

Crumbling sidewalks

I feel strongly that streets and sidewalks around downtown Omaha and the Old Market are not being maintained properly.

While walking home recently, I fell at the corner of 10th Street and Capitol Avenue. This is just one of the places around downtown where the sidewalks are broken and uneven. In this particular case, some of the bricks on the southwest corner have broken. It makes walking hazardous.

As I was looking up to see if I had a walk signal, my ankle twisted in the depression of broken brick. I fell hard on my knee and elbow, and my belongings went flying. I live downtown and I walk 3-plus miles every day. I wear “sensible” shoes and try to watch where I am going.

I have spoken to other residents who have similar experiences.

Having recently moved back to Omaha after a few years away, I have found that the streets and sidewalks have decayed. And this is in an area where tourists and visitors stroll around, looking everywhere except down.

I implore the city to maintain the sidewalks — many locations need repair. I do not want to fall again due to some uneven heaving, cracking or crumbling of the sidewalk.

Sue Millward, Omaha

Climate migrants

A July 1 article about the drowning deaths of the Salvadoran father and daughter was heartbreaking. It made me wonder why any father would subject himself and his young child to such danger.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele said, “People don’t flee their homes because they want to. People flee their homes because they feel they have to.”

It is well documented that one of the root causes of the Central American refugee crisis is the climate crisis. Climate migrants, present and future, deserve our compassion. More than that, they deserve solutions.

We can all do something to avoid the tragic loss of life by climate migrants. I urge readers to contact Nebraska members of Congress — Reps. Don Bacon, Jeff Fortenberry and Adrian Smith and Sens. Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer and tell them we need a plan that resolves one human crisis by addressing another.

Nancy Meyer, Cedar Bluffs, Neb.

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